What Is a Commissions Expense? Definition, Overview, 8 Facts

Because of the range of commission kinds and payment systems, it may be difficult to appropriately distribute commission expenses to employees. Here’s the dirt on commissions, how to account for them in your books, and how to deduct them from your company’s tax bill.

What Is a Commission?

A sales commission is a monetary compensation provided to a worker for successfully completing a predefined objective, such as the sale of a certain number of items or services. Incentives such as commissions can also be utilized to increase productivity.

What Is a Commissions Expense?

Examples of typical commissions:

  • Sales Employee: If a quota is met or surpassed within a certain time frame, sales commissions are occasionally awarded in addition to regular income. Commissions might be based on total sales or a set minimum level.
  • Insurance Agent: The normal type of pay for an independent insurance agent or broker who is not an employee of the insurance firm is a commission. The kind and value of a policy influence how much commission you’ll receive.
  • Real Estate Agents: Profit from commissions on real estate sales. These agents are usually independent contractors.

Accounting for a Commission

Under the accrual method of accounting, a commission is both an expense and a liability if it is recorded at the same time as the sale generated by the salesperson and the commission amount can be estimated.

The Commission Liability Account will be credited and the Commission Expense Account will be debited (which is usually classified as a short-term liability, except for cases where you expect to pay the commission in more than one year).

What Is a Commissions Expense?

A commission should be recorded at the moment it is paid to conform with the cash foundation of accounting, providing a credit to the cash account and a debit to the commission expenditure account.

When an employee receives a commission, the company deducts the appropriate amount of taxes from the commission payment before distributing the cash to the employee. Unless the beneficiary is an employee, the commission must be treated as revenue and any profits must be reported to the IRS.

What Is a Commissions Expense?

The commissions expense will be reflected in the income statement created using the accrual method of accounting.

It shows the expected commission payout for the time period in which the money was earned. The commission requirement and this type of expenditure are reported in the same accounting period.

How To Classify Commissions Expense?

Commissions can be classified as an operational or non-operating expense. It is classified as a sales expenditure since it is a cost of doing business in the sales department. It might be regarded a cost of goods sold because it is a cost incurred in providing the service or creating the product for sale.

What Is a Commissions Expense?

This form of spending classification is employed depending on who gets reimbursed. If a salesman earned the commission, it would be considered a cost. If the commission is really received by the business, it is considered income.

Accounts receivable may be used to incorporate a company’s commissions. This item might be classified as a commissions expense in addition to other categories.

When Any Commissions Expense Will Be Recorded

Even if the commission isn’t paid until later, the cost of it will be recorded in the period in which it was earned. This happens a lot when commissions are paid at the end of the month rather than right after a transaction is completed.

Additionally, if the commission has not yet been paid, it should be noted. Workers’, suppliers’, and contractors’ commissions all belong in the same accounts payable bucket, therefore the label works well here as well.

The process Of Recording A Typical Commissions Expense

When a salesperson is paid a commission on a regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly, the corresponding expense is reported as follows. Money crosses exchanged when a salesman closes a deal. The commission is calculated using this income.

What Is a Commissions Expense?

The commissions payable account is subsequently credited, while the commission expenditures account is debited. If a salesperson gets paid commissions at the end of the month, commissions payable become a debit and commissions spent become a credit.

Following that, a cash credit is applied and a commissions expense debit is applied to represent the actual payment.

Other Different Kinds Of Payment Of Commissions Expense

Commission expenses may arise from a variety of payment mechanisms. It is normal practice to compute commissions as a percentage of sales. The salesman might also be paid a set fee. A less prevalent type of pay is commissions based on the net profits or gross margin of the sale.

How to Present Commission Expenses?

Commission expenses must be documented on an accrual basis as well. The cost of commissions is noted in the adjustment journal and may thus be included in the income statement. This amount appears on the balance sheet as commissions payable.

What Is a Commissions Expense?


A commission expense is an expense incurred by a business that is paid to a third party for their services. For example, if you hire an insurance agent to sell insurance, you pay an expense to him because he’s selling a product that you are buying.

A commission expense is an expense that is paid to a third party for the services they are performing. This can be a big expense for your company so make sure to have a clear understanding of the different commission expenses and how they impact your bottom line.

Most businesses have commissions expenses. The three most common are: advertising expenses, training expenses, and marketing expenses.

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Pat Moriarty
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